Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dirt Cheap Housing - Progress

My son Bernard and I have successfully laid six of an estimated 24 courses of bags for our root cellar. This is definitely a two-man job at a minimum, but I can imagine that with a case of beer and some well-defined duty stations, one of these things could probably be put up in a weekend. We are definitely getting into a groove and becoming more efficient.

The courses are now starting their gradual slope inward which makes the ultimate cone shape possible. We decided it was probably important to place the door before we got too much farther as we noticed the pressure from the supporting bags was so great as to start bowing the door frame. Our intention is to keep plumbing the door frame with each successive course and then driving nails into the supporting bags to hold it in place. It's amazing how tight the pressure of the bags keeps the frame without any additional fastening!

We also decided to integrate some shelving into the structure. To save money, we recycled some boards salvaged from concrete forms left over from a previous project. The builder was going to throw them away. By ripping them and constructing the shelving using nails recovered from a disassembly I performed years ago, we were able to save quite a bit of money. We intend to place three more shelves as the building gets higher.

We are very impressed with the stability of the structure and the simplicity of the engineering. I am convinced that with some imagination and careful planning, a very efficient, comfortable and attractive family dwelling could be made for very little outlay other than the sweat equity. A small price to pay for no mortgage and a super green house!

More to come....

No comments: